Mary Beth Writes

This is a lemming. Make mistakes this year, but don’t make the lemming mistake.


This morning, while looking in our under-the-fridge freezer for soup for supper (neither of us want to cook today), we discovered a towel-wrapped lettuce. What can I say? It’s a whole new mistake to make that we have never made before.

We were putting our groceries away in a hurry last Thursday evening. I DO remember rinsing and wrapping the lettuce in that towel, which (if you don’t put it in the freezer) makes lettuce last longer. I don’t remember actually putting it in the freezer but this is possible. Or Len did. This is an equal opportunity mistakes-making home.

Welcome to the New Year. There are things to do and mistakes to make and I hope the mistakes are no worse than frozen lettuce.

Here is an interesting (to me) thing. The occupational therapist at the rehab hospital tested Len’s readiness to drive this way. Len had to walk up and down (she was along to supervise) all four corridors of the hospital. While two-handedly passing a tennis ball around himself in a circle from front to back to front to back. While reading the names of the people in the rooms as they walked past them. He did this very well, though it was the closest he’d been to a tennis ball since we had a dog.

I guess this is how to not make too many mistakes.

  • Balance and locomotion should be instinctual and smooth. If it isn’t, practice more.
  • Invent new ways to move – some of us should dance or build and fashion new things way more than we do. Play-dough might upgrade our dexterity. 
  • Look around at what is slightly different and notice what we are seeing.

Yesterday we went to Madison to visit our kids. I drove there. Len drove us home. It’s newish for me to expect myself to do half the driving, so I guess I’m changing a little. It’s awesome that Len can drive again.

When we were dating Len took me to a small theater production of a weird play about Arctic explorers. I have just looked online for way too long and I can’t find any clues as to what that play it was. Anyways, there was a scene where one of the explorers was ill and not getting better. The other guys were trying to help him but couldn’t; meanwhile their supplies were running out. The sick but nobly gallant guy gets up and says he’s going for a walk. This is the Arctic or Antarctica in a blizzard. He goes outside, unzips his parka, wanders off to die while making a heartfelt speech.

So here we are in Omicron and there are moments I think I will just wander into a grocery store, tear off my mask, and make a speech about the great life I was privileged to have.

This is my attempt at dark humor. Because seriously, what other kind of humor is there, these days?

We had a lovely quiet New Years weekend. Again. Not sure I really wanted to read more novels and then fall sound asleep at 9:20 on NY Eve. But I did. Watching a lit-up Times Square ball drop on a 26” TV screen is not something I cared to spend three more hours to watch.

This is where we are now.

What are you doing, besides going to work in a hazmat suit, to get through this thick part of quarantine? Again?


In case you would like to read something that actually informs your life, I have been meaning for a while to mention the daily posts of Heather Cox Richardson. Click here:  Heather Cox Richardson on Substack 

The woman is smart and her writing is clear. Of all the things I pay attention to as I try to keep up with what's happening around us, I think her daily letter is the best.





Aaaaarrrgh! We've all been there in one way or another. Sigh. My youngest son is getting married at the end of February. With Covid rearing its ugly head again, I'm now worried about catching it and not being able to attend. Or worse yet the bride or the groom catching it and having to reschedule everything (His lovely bride to be always wanted a Winter wedding). I know they are not alone in this as many couples have had to reschedule weddings and other events. With my husband and I both retired and just the two of us living in our home, we've decided we are both going to quarantine for two weeks prior to the wedding. No visitors, no going out except extreme emergencies. We're both vaxxed and boosted also. When they started planning this wedding over a year ago, I never dreamed that in 2022 we would still be in this fix. As for everyday living until our self imposed isolation, I keep following the CDC guidelines for masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated. I took my 13 year old grandson to the movies over the Christmas vacation and felt very unsafe. Too many people, no separation of rows and a man directly in back of us was coughing. Going back no time soon.
Mary Beth's picture

Oh man, I feel for you. Trying to be prudent and trying to have one's life at the same time has turned into such a mind-numbing hassle. If we knew what the future would be, we could wrap our lives around it - but it keeps changing. Your plan sounds smart to me - cloister in - bust out - go back to zero and hope!

Hey, I have been reading and supporting Heather for the past year! She is one smart cookie! At our house, we are now wearing those N95 masks…please, when will this ever end! We are only going to Dr and Vet appts, the grocery and sometimes church. Pretty boring life. We only see my son and his family who live 5 miles away. I want to have coffee at a diner with my friend or go out to eat with hubs. WHINE, WHINE, WHINE. The good news is we are healthy and retired and don’t have to go out..
Mary Beth's picture

Your comment "pretty boring" - yup, Mostly I love being introverted - but in the olden days it was my choice, not a survival strategy...

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Quarantine Diary #680 Too Close Covid


Judy suggests a podcast that her daughter-in-law, an infectious disease physician, listens to and recommends. It’s The Osterholm Update: COVID 19. Osterholm is an epidemiologist and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He’s on President Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board.

The podcast is a little wordy here and there but one can fast-forward. Here is what I learned that makes a difference to me.

Quarantine Diary #674 - MLK Day


It’s Martin Luther King Day.  I read this last week (in Soul Matters for those of you who are UU). 

There is no such state of being that can be called - “I’m not a racist.”

There is only racist and anti-racist.

Quarantine Diary #668 Making an Effort

We hiked on Sunday.


How was your weekend?

Have you noticed that with this omicron iteration of covid isolation – if one is not an employee - it’s tricky to tell what is a weekend and what is not? I think about what my kids might be doing and maybe we call them and that is the main way weekends are different from weeks. By what other people are doing.

Quarantine Diary #664 Whine, whine, whine.


Lincoln gave a speech in January of 1838 to Americans alarmed by mob actions.

He begins: “In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American People …

Quarantine Diary #662 Janus month.


I can still hear my mom saying, “I don’t know whether I’m coming or going today.” I thought of this, one of her favorite sayings, when I wrote this letter to the Third Graders yesterday.

Dear Kids!

I hope you had a fine winter holiday. Now it is January 2022. Do you know where the word January comes from?

In ancient Roman culture, Jānus was a god of doorways, beginnings, and of the rising and setting of the sun. The Latin word jānus, means doorway. Janus is where you enter or leave a space.

Quarantine Diary #657 What we’re up against


I know a fair amount about the planet-killing toxicity of western culture’s “fast fashion” so I was impressed by what I read this morning in “The Day the World Stops Shopping.” (I wrote about this book yesterday in case you missed class. Hah.)

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